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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial PorterVictory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,217 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,217
Hads: 5,914
Avg: 4.36
pDev: 19.5%
Wants: 1,004
Gots: 1,718 | FT: 92
Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: radshoesbro on 03-17-2009

Our Victory at Sea Imperial Porter is a bold, smooth brew with just the right amount of sweetness. We infused this robust porter with whole vanilla beans and San Diego’s own Caffe Calabria coffee beans. The subtle roasted notes and minimal acidity of the cold brewed coffee, balances perfectly with the sweet caramel undertones of the malt, creating a winning combination for your palate.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,217 | Hads: 5,914
Photo of brystmar
4.53/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to claspada for the trade!

A: sexy black with tons of tan head and excellent retention. Copious lace on my glass. Gorgeous!

S: everything here is big and bold. Milk chocolate, roasted malts, coffee, sweet malts, booze.

T: wow, where to start? Everything described above shines through perfectly, with the vanilla and caramel finally showing up right in the middle of it all. Doesn't lean too hard in any direction, however, and its initial sweetness is balanced nicely by a dry, bitter coffee finish. Perfect amount of alcohol to bring these flavors together and provide mild warmth as it goes down.

M: big and hearty, perfectly carbonated, but still holding out for a nitro version. :)

A superb brew overall. I'm texting my friend in SD right now to pick up a few bottles next time he's out.

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Photo of abuliarose
4.53/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up one of these on a beer run down to MA. Poured into our large tulip snifter, revealing rich midnight brown body and an appealing thick tanned head. Good lacing, too. For a porter, it's awesome looking. Smells like the taste of coffee vanilla ice cream with nice roasty porter black malt-type notes.

Tastes smooth and quite sweet, with omnipresent roasted flavors laced with vanilla and burnt caramel. I always get a little more raw woody character to porters than other dark beers and here is no exception. Mouthfeel is thick and creamy with carbonation adding volumes without being too tingly. That said, it is quite acidic. A nice coffee/hoppy bitterness rounds out each sip. Detectable alcohol presence. Medium to heavy-bodied. With all its acidity, it drinks like a well-done dark roast but the sweetness does ease that. I'd love to see this one with a year or two on it to catch the coffee mellowing.

For an imperial porter, it's excellent.

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Photo of haazer
4.53/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Hard pour puts up a towering, dense ash/light brown colored head. Lasts for quite some time and settles at about 2 1/2 fingers. Lacing all over the glass on this. Brew is a very dark brown, no light getting through.

S- Strong, delicious brown roast coffee up front. Blends with a good bit of regular mocha actually. The vanilla is there underneath the coffee, and the coffee comes in again in aftertaste. The malts are dark but take a backseat to the wonderful smelling coffee and vanilla, it's almost like an iced coffee with creamer. So good.

T- The taste is this amazing coffee, you San Diegan's are lucky for this "Caffe Colabria". Taste is much like the nose really. Mocha follows the coffee, then followed by vanilla beans. My only complaint is the 10% is felt on the backend with heat and some boozy taste.

M- Mouth is fully bodied, silky smooth with mid to high carbonation. As coffee does this appears to coat your mouth and teeth.

O- So often does a coffee stout/porter overpower you with burnt bitter roasted malt, this does not. This is a world class brew. This profiles the coffee and vanilla without killing you with roast. This is my favorite coffee stout/porter thus far. I will look for this always.

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Photo of ManOfTheDown
4.53/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Oh my god. Thats all I have to say about this world class beer.... Aroma full of roasted coffee and vanilla, nice lacing, great creamy mouthfeel, with a robust dark heavy stout flavor, notes of vanilla bean and coffee, HEAVY roast flavor... soooo good. I hope to find this in my local TEXAS beer haberdasher for times to come. Maybe my new favorite.

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Photo of IronCitySteve
4.53/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a deep dark brown almost black color with no light coming through. Provides a thick brown foam head with excellent retention. Lots of lacing down the sides.

S: Ample amounts of sweet vanilla, chocolate, sugar with a small undertone of roasted coffee. Scents are quite potent.

T: Starts of rich and creamy and smooth. Lots of vanilla and chocolate blended nicely and not overly sweet. In the middle some mild undertones of roasted coffee that balance out the sweetness. The back end finishes with a rich deep roasted black coffee taste with some burnt wood and alcohol. The alcohol is not hot but slightly noticeable.

M: A nice rich full bodied beer. Nice amount carbonation. Leaves a roasted coffee taste on the palate that lingers for a long time.

O: This is a fantastic porter. Very complex with a lot going on but it is quite balanced. There is just a tad hint of alcohol but it is no means hot. Definitely a beer you must try if you enjoy imperial porters.

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Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.53/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Pours a dark pitch-black viscous liquid. There is a thin light tan head.

Aroma is of awesome coffee notes, espresso with hint of vanilla. Definitely some cocoa is present as well. The nose is pretty big on the vanilla with the coffee roast balancing it a bit.

Flavor on the other hand is so much more balanced. There is a strong espresso and coffee-ground roast with a smooth and silky vanilla note. The roast comes up quick and aggressive coating the palate with bitter coffee notes and some deep dark bitter/sweet cocoa. Then the sweet vanilla comes in trying to mellow out the coffee and adding a nice second dimension. There are some nice burnt notes and cocoa sweetness that mingle with the vanilla and the delicious coffee as well near the middle-end of the sip that really make this brew delicious. Mouthfeel seems just right with a nice silky and oily and full feel.

Overall this is a great brew. Top notch Porter as well. The vanilla notes and coffee notes are delicious together and independently are well crafted. The more cocoa like Porter notes also ad a great dimension.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
4.53/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Big fluffy mocha head with pretty good stay. Eventually it recedes but not with out throwing tons of lacing in the form of rings around the glass. The beer its self is a coffee colored deep brown that collects in the glass and becomes opaque black.

S- Coffee is dominate. Some hops are detectable underneath the roasted coffee soft vanilla and caramel. Its pretty nice. Let this one warm and use a glass thats easy to swirl. The nose will then come alive.

T- Coffee lovers unite! This is pretty heavy on the bitter, roasted, black coffee. Under that is the vanilla. Its like adding vanilla to a cup of coffee. There is a suggestion of hops towards the end. They add a juiciness and pine to the finish. The aftertaste is like milk chocolate and vanilla. This is a really roasty and bitter porter.

M- Fairly thick. Lots of carbonation that fluffs up the mouthfeel a lot.

D- Very robust and delicious. The alcohol isnt too noticeable, not with the in your face coffee characteristics of this beer.

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Photo of beerforpresident
4.53/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Revisited this one last night. Rich, of course, but also way more drinkable than I remember. Excellent coffee, chocolate. The vanilla is nice at first, but turns a touch too sweet towards the end.

Been a standby since the first time I had it. Even so, I'm looking forward to trying an even fresher bottle of this when it rolls into town again.

22oz (Enjoy by: 11/07/13) into tumbler

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Photo of stephenjmoore
4.53/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Thick black pour, foamy tan head that fades pretty quickly, but leaves some lacing and a ring of bubbles.

S- Roasted malts, chocolate malt, bitter coffee, hints of vanilla and caramel.

T- Wow. Roasty malts, with hints of chocolate and coffee at the beginning and through the middle. Finish is a huge amount of vanilla with coffee mixed in. Finish is like a vanilla flavored coffee.

M- Full bodied, velvety and smooth. Medium carbonation with a very good feel.

O- Was not expecting this amount of vanilla and coffee in this beer. While it says "vanilla coffee porter" on the label, I was still pleasantly surprised with the flavor. As advertised and very tasty.

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Photo of strangefate
4.53/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours pitch black with a two finger dark brown head and little lacing that disippates quickly.

The scent is of coffee, mocha, a toasty malt presence, and a tinge of vanilla.

I found that for myself when I sipped it in such a way where it first hit the tip of my tongue, I got the sweetness and vanilla taste up front, which is the part of the taste I like the best. The vanilla presence in this is just incredibly delicious. There is also a strong coffee presence, some caramel, and a bit of a hop presence. Although I mostly prefer drinking bigger beers somewhat close to room temperature, I prefer this one a bit colder as the sweetness is more present as opposed to the coffee taste - it's great either way though. The alcohol taste is masked very well for a 10% brew, whether cold or close to room temperature.

This has a medium-heavy mouthfeel which is very smooth and complements the beer so well. I can't imagine a better mouthfeel for the style.

Although I drink this slow and savor the flavor, I could drink this all night, it's just an amazing beer - something I'll make sure to buy every time Ballast Point releases it.

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Photo of TheCuriograph
4.53/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

From a bomber, poured into a pint glass.

A - Pitch black, with a two-finger tan frothy head. Head aerates slightly, leaving nice spiderweb lacing.

S - Coffee and vanilla dominate with a sugary sweetness that masks any booze or bitterness.

T - The rich vanilla really rises to the top, leaving the coffee-malt body to follow. There's a sharp espresso bitterness the subsides nice and gentle. Behind all of it is a tangy alcohol, almost like dark cherry intermingling with caramel.

M - Mealy, oil mouthfeel. Substantial and heavy, a perfect desert-course unto itself.

O - One of the better coffee-focused beers I've had. The sweetness and bitterness are perfectly balanced, and it's full and quietly boozy. A great dessert beer.


Politics, Art, Beer. A Compendium of Worldly Facts
The Curiograph
Twitter: @TheCuriograph

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Photo of Treyliff
4.54/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- pours pitch black with a small creamy light-tan head that retains long after the pour, leaving behind some short rings of lace

S- big fresh coffee espresso notes melds with melted dark chocolate, toasted vanilla biscotti, fudge brownie, dried dark cherry and fruit bread

T- fresh dark roast coffee up front, highlighted by sweet vanilla, chocolaty malt, and toasted almond. Dark fruit notes of prune, fig and raisin on the finish with a sweet cherry juice finish

M- medium body and carbonation with a light-yet-creamy mouthfeel, leads to a smooth and velvety finish. Loaded with flavor, but still keeping a light enough mouthfeel for a porter, ABV is hidden very well

O- the vanilla meshes almost perfectly to an already solid base coffee porter. Drinkability is on point, solid beer!

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Photo of yamar68
4.54/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Been looking to try this beer forever, just never actively sought it out. But guess what? Hessian257 sent one my way in a mystery box recently!

Dark, dark, dark... nice half finger of creamy pale brown head. Great slick lace and cloudy beading beneath. Good looking stuff for sure.

Aroma doesn't wait for me to find it... mocha, oily coffee bean and bitter chocolate, mellow vanilla, some hazelnut and other nutty aromas. Loves it.

Big, bold blend of coffee, caramel, smooth vanilla, fudge... a bit sticky, bittersweet, maybe some berry notes buried in here somewhere. Delicious in every way.

Thanks Dave! Permanently ISO.

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Photo of Seanniek91
4.54/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Served from a bomber into a Grey Sail pint. Put in the fridge for an hour prior to consumption.

Appearance- Pitch black with thin mocha head that didn't last long. Mocha ring remains around the top of the beer.

Smell- Strong. Coffee, sweet chocolate, burnt vanilla aromas, some licorice, heavy sweet chocolate malts. The booze is relatively hidden in smell.

Taste- Wow heavy coffee with mild lingering vanilla notes. Dark bitter chocolate rounds out the coffee nicely and smooth malts balance with the bitter chocolate. Very well balanced beer. Booze is also not forward, which for 10% is incredible.

Mouthfeel- Very drinkable and smooth with moderate carbonation. Too drinkable actually.

Overall- This is an awesome beer. Great, well balanced flavors and smooth body in this one.

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Photo of Duhast500
4.54/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Victory at Sea

Poured from a 22fl. Oz. bomber into a Dogfish Head pint glass.

The color is a dark black with some slight maroon highlights that are just barely making a presence here.

The smell is dark chocolate, and cocoa that jumps in the nose. There is some slight graham cracker here in the aroma that is tease the combo of s’mores but the marshmallow does not appear. Coffee grounds aroma comes out here and gives off a preview of breakfast in the morning.

The taste is big coffee at first with a pushy dry cocoa flavor that hangs and hangs in the background giving off more coffee bean flavor than expected. There is dark malt flavor that comes up to make an appearance and give a slight black licorice flavor with some brown bread finishing things.

The feel of this beer is of a big beer that packs a large flavor profile. The extra kick of the ABV brings a bigger push into the darker malt character and makes for a complex body. There are a lot to this beer and it brings a whole title fight to your door with left jabs of dark malts and rights of some interesting sweetness that keeps this beer interesting till the last drop

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Photo of Kendo
4.54/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from the bottle into a Sam Smith's nonic-style pint glass. Body is black with a 2-finger, tannish/chocolate brown head that leaves behind nice thick rings of lace.

S: Not as strong as I'd expected, but I think that actually bodes well, as I've had plenty of vanilla-added beers that really overdo it and you note it right away in the nose. I get mainly roasty notes - roasted barley malt & coffee beans - with just a touch of vanilla.

T: "Roasty" is the first word that comes to mind. Some coffee, plenty of malt, a modest amount of vanilla and a touch of charcoal/char that provides bitterness. Finishes with a surprisingly solid bitterness that provides a nice offset of all the otherwise malty flavors (as well as the "added" flavors of vanilla and coffee). No trace whatsoever of the 10% ABV.

M: Good for an imperial porter - nearly full-bodied in heft, but with a good creaminess that makes it drink lighter.

O: Tremendous stuff. Nicely balanced and tasty.

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Photo of beergoot
4.54/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle label data: none

Deep mahogany, brown body with stringy clumps of viscous, clinging, tan colored foam. Smell exudes coffee grounds and smokey wood. Rich vanilla sweetness combines with charred grain and coffee flavors for a rich, slightly astringent taste experience; mocha; semi-sweet chocolate; mild alcohol heat. Medium-heavy body; smooth; semi-dry finish.

A deep, rich, and fully satisfying porter, chock-full of dark grain goodness and sweet malt sugar and vanilla character. A must-try example of an imperial styled porter...

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Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.54/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into St. Bernardus Chalice. 2010 bottle.

A: Awesome look, very dark brown-black body with epic brown head and super lacing on the glass. Awesome start.

S: This is nice- a huge fudge note, some roast, vanilla type sweetness with an oaked tinge to it. Some coffee in there. Not as strong as I'd like but very nice

T: Much more going on here. The vanilla and coffee flavors are well highlighted over a base of roasty chocolate. A sweet front and a bitter chocolate dry finish, huge charred malt characters and a bit of smoke, and some alcohol burn and sweetness as well. Barley and cereal notes add in to beef up the overall body and flavor of the beer. Supremely balanced and amazing, some definite creamy almost milk shake malt qualities to it. Probably the tastiest imperial porter there is.

M: Smooth and creamy, very viscous. Great carbonation level and no heat, just amazing over the palate.

D: Great beer. I love it and will continue to buy it if I see it, also I'm curious to see how it ages and if the vanilla and coffee fade away.

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Photo of kaseydad
4.54/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

In the cellar for almost a year but couldn't take him staring back at me each time I passed him over for another. Pours a beautiful black ale with a brown fluffy head. Stays for awhile and then turns to a thin layer. Great vanilla in the smell. Simply awesome with a background of milk chocolate and Hershey's syrup. I could smell this all day. It's that good. Nice roasty flavor with some bitter chocolate, espresso hints and some smokiness on the swallow. Not getting much vanilla in the taste but the coffee charachter really comes out as it warms. I thought the mouthfeel was a little too carbonated for my liking but that was only a slight "problem" with this amazing brew. Overall I am a forever fan of this brew and look forward to his release again. And the 10% must be a misprint. Much too easy to consume and sharing may be difficult. Great job!

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Photo of anon
4.54/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Wow, wow, wow!

Pours velvety black, beautiful beer on the pour. A full finger of a coffee colored head, with sticky lacing throughout.

Coffee hits big on the nose, and for a coffee lover, draws you in big time. Mouth watering already. Notes of vanilla, caramel, roasted malts, roasty toasty.

Taste and mouth feel are where this brew owns a gold star. Coffee up front. Big, beautiful roasted, creamy coffee; the bitterness of the dark roast hitting instantly, with the sweetness of vanilla lashing at your taste buds, light caramel and toffee way in the back. A beautiful tangency of bitterness and sweetness.

My favorite Ballast Point beer and my current favorite porter. What an excellent brew. Highly recommended.

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Photo of CHADMC3
4.54/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a totally opaque black body beneath the rich, thick, mocha head which is very patient to dissolve and leaves a scattered, sticky lacing about the glass.

Massive aromas of coffee, roasted malt, and vanilla bean waft from the glass and backhand you in the face. It’s unreal. So far I have sat and smelled this for about three minutes before I even took a sip.

Abundant flavors of coffee, vanilla, milk chocolate, and roasted malt all mesh perfectly in the palate. As it warms the roasted malt and vanilla only become more pronounced with perhaps a touch of a cocoa after taste.

Medium carbonation with a thick, chewy body and a semi-sweet, yet roasted finish.

This beer is incredible, one of the best I’ve had in a while. The various flavors and aromas are fantastic and none overwhelms the others. Simply great.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.55/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Wow, so impressive. Only other vanilla porter I've had was from Breckenridge, also good, but more pedestrian than this. Pours black like a stout, always a good sign. Smell, just gives a hint of the vanilla, but there's more of that to come.

The taste if phenomenal. Delic. The vanilla must absorb some alcohol, because I was shocked after having a few sips to find out this is 10%. I was guessing in the 7% range. Love when that happens. So smooth, went so good with the pork tenderloin tonight, which usually you don't pair with a stout.

Subsequent batches haven't seemed all that world class, but always very good. But they keep selling out very quickly, so they must be doing something right.

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Photo of shand
4.55/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a chalice.

This brew pours a thick black color with brown highlights. It has a finger of mocha head that goes away quickly. Lacing is nice. The smell is awesome. Roasted coffee and malts on the nose, with some nice vanilla and chocolate aspects too. The nose did nothing to prepare me for the taste though. This hits the tongue super-creamy, with the vanilla, chocolate and coffee working in tandem for a great flavor. The vanilla and chocolate fade to roasted malts, which don't stay for too long, leaving a great coffee aftertaste. This is seriously good.

The mouthfeel is very creamy with a pretty high level of carbonation for the style. 10% alcohol? No way. I don't taste a hint of the alcohol here. This is dangerously drinkable. This is seriously a good brew. I saw the tag of "imperial porter" and shrugged it out, but I can surely see the difference between this and an imperial stout. Highly recommended, especially if you love coffee beers like I do. This is seriously good.

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Photo of LordofWord
4.55/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Too spendy in the bomber format but ... yes it is tasty. Reminds me of ST Creme Brulee a bit, but less sweet. Wondering if cellaring it will tone down the heavy-handed coffee a smidge. Whatever the case, an overall excellent experience. Wish it came in sixers where I live.

EDIT: Hmmm, way heavier on the coffee the second time. Not as impressed. I am going to try cellaring it to mellow the coffee and bring up the vanilla.

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Photo of CarverMG
4.55/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A: Black, soft head. Poured 1 finger settled to top of the glass. Looks like a brand new black car.. Can see the reflection of the glass perfectly off the black background.

S: Vanilla and Coffee together. Chocolate following. A stronger espresso hit than vanilla but still balances out.

T: Espresso, Vanilla, Small hit of the ABV. A small Initial aftertaste of roasted espresso beans. Small tastes of Chocolate. Noticeably enough The vanilla pairs well with the espresso.

M: Really Smooth, Mild Carbonation, ABV kicks, Coffee (in a good way) filling the mouth.

O: Very Good Porter.. I would recommend stout lovers or even non dark beer lovers to try this.. Its a good good beer.

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Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 1,217 ratings.